Heather Gardea Named VP of R & D for El Pollo Loco
09/20/2011 - Costa Mesa, Calif. (Business Wire) - El Pollo Loco, Inc., the nation’s flame-grilled chicken leader, announced today the appointment of Heather Gardea, 22-year culinary veteran to the position of vice president of research & development. Gardea will oversee menu development and the overall culinary direction and strategy for El Pollo Loco.
Gardea built her career in the Southern California market, where she has consistently delivered unique and innovative products with high flavor profiles. Gardea brings a wealth of food service experience to the role, most recently as vice president of food & beverage and vice president of marketing at Catalina Restaurant Group, Inc., parent company of Coco's Bakery Restaurants and Carrows Restaurants.
In her new role, Gardea will provide leadership to the research and development team, continue to reinforce El Pollo Loco’s commitment to delivering feel-good food with a kick, and ensure the consistent delivery of high-quality and innovative menu items.
“Heather is a results-oriented, passionate executive who possesses the perfect blend of strategic insight, initiative and focus to take our culinary team to the next level,” said Steve Sather, President and CEO of El Pollo Loco, Inc.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Gardea makes her home in Laguna Beach. She is based at El Pollo Loco’s headquarters in Costa Mesa, California.
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